I was going through some old listserv messages the other day that I had saved for one reason or another and came across one where a Virtual Assistant was lamenting about possibly losing a client. She had learned inadvertently that this client was seeking a new VA and she was upset that she hadn’t been told about it directly. She complained that she had bent over backward for this client and they hadn’t mentioned a word to her about being unhappy with her work or anything.
While it is understandably upsetting when people aren’t upfront, I still couldn’t help but notice her poor writing skills. She used the wrong spelling of certain words, didn’t punctuate her sentences properly, etc. It naturally made me wonder if this was any indication of her skill level and competence. Because if it was, it could explain the reason the client was seeking someone else.
Everything we do as administrative experts is a demonstration of our skill and competence (or lack of it, as the case may be). And language and written communication skills are integral to everything we do. If you aren’t able to communicate clearly and coherently with clients in proper form, we can’t honestly be upset with them if that poor communication doesn’t inspire their confidence. They want their work to be as professional as it can be. How can they trust that you can accomplish that if you don’t show them a command of the necessary language skills?
I don’t know if this was the case or not with this VA, but it did lead me to another thought… that there are basically two groups of people in our industry.
There are those who take healthy pride in the administrative skills and talents they possess. They elevate their work to the level of craft, of art. They are able to apply abstract, critical thinking to not just do the work, but do it really, really well. Beautifully even.
Then there are those who got into this industry because they heard it was a way to make some extra money. They sit passively waiting to be told what to do (sometimes even how to do it!), and are either unable or unwilling to exert any more effort or thought beyond the literal request.
Which group do you think provides more value for clients? Which creates more ease for them and inspires their trust and confidence?
Which group do you fall into?